Operation Post Card Launched

Effort to Persuade Billionaire Owner of Boom to Sell or Donate Building

LAGUNA BEACH, CA – SAVE the BOOM!!! today kicked off its 2008 offensive to save the landmark Coast Inn and Boom Boom Room.  A winter long campaign gets underway today to appeal to Mr. Steven Udvar-Hazy to either sell his property to a buyer who will keep it as a gay establishment, donate it to the city of Laguna Beach or donate it to a newly created Trust that will administer the property.

“Thousands of yellow post cards have been printed and we hope to fill his Los Angeles office with them.  We will be getting as many people to sign and mail them to Mr. Udvar-Hazy as we can until this historic property returns to the way it has been for over 60 years,” stated Fred Karger, Founder of SAVE the BOOM!!!

The Coast Inn and the Boom Boom Room in which it is located was put up for sale by Mr. Udvar-Hazy in May 2007.  There have been scores of interested buyers in discussions with Mr. Udvar-Hazy and his real estate representative, Joe Smith of Monarch Bay Realty, but no sale has taken place.  This property could become the finest gay destination resort and club in the world.

Steven Udvar-Hazy is the CEO of International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) in Los Angeles, and he was ranked the 83rd richest American on the 2007 Forbes list with a net worth of $3.1 billion.  ILFC is a division of AIG, the world’s largest Insurance and Financial Services Company.  AIG is ranked #9 on the Fortune list of biggest companies in the US.

“The Coast Inn has 24 rooms and houses the oldest gay bar in the Western United States,” added Karger.  “Our efforts to save our landmark building have been going on for close to 2 years.  Mr. Udvar-Hazy is a very generous man.  He donated nearly $70 million dollars to the Smithsonian to create The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of The National Air and Space Museum.  This incredible museum is located near Washington Dulles International Airport, and opened in 2003.  Now we sincerely hope that he will consider donating the historic building that he owns in Laguna Beach.

“The donation of the Coast Inn located at 1401 S. Coast Highway could be an excellent federal and state tax deduction for him.  He would be a hero to millions of gays and lesbians across the country who support our cause," said Karger.  “Real Estate values are down in Orange County from what they were 2 years ago when he bought the property, and financing is hard to come by.  We hope that he will either drastically lower the asking price or be a true hero and donate the property.”

Developers donate real estate to cities and other governmental entities all the time.  Donald Bren and his Irvine Company donated a significant amount of land that he owned in Laguna Canyon to the City of Laguna Beach.

“I have sent him several qualified buyers to no avail.  Now the Boom Boom Room has been closed for nearly five months, and lots of gay and lesbian residents and our friends are thinking about moving away.  The City has a long history with the gay community going back more than 100 years when the first 40 artists moved to beautiful Laguna Beach between 1903 and 1917.  We helped shape this City and we want to stay and be involved with the Laguna where we live and work for the next 100 years.  The Boom Boom Room has been our club for over 60 years.   

“We don’t have a lot of landmarks in our civil rights movement,” said Karger. “Our clubs and our bars have long been our gathering places.  They take on a far greater significance.  And nothing is more significant in gay history than the Boom or Laguna Beach.”

“Many gay firsts have taken place in Laguna Beach -- both good and bad.  Bob Gentry was the first openly gay mayor in the United States.  Under his 12 years on the City Council, so many historic laws were passed ranging from domestic partnership, anti discrimination to HIV / AIDS. 

“Over the last 25 years, the gay community has lost so many of our ranks to the scourge of AIDS.  Laguna Beach lost more of its citizens to AIDS per capita than any city in America.  Now, we do not want to lose the heart and soul of the gay community in Laguna, and we will fight this battle as we have fought them all.

“So, today, we will launch “Operation Post Card,” our post card campaign to Mr. Udvar-Hazy to appeal to his sense of fairness and kindness and generosity to help us SAVE the BOOM – Forever!!!,” concluded Karger.

Anyone interested in helping Operation Post Card, please email savetheboom@aol.com or call 949-494-4750

See the postcard